Friday, August 28, 2009

Tree House Progress

It's coming along! The entire house is framed, walled and wired with electricity. As with any of Weston's projects, it's all-consuming. If he has spare time - he works on the tree house and if he isn't working on it - he is thinking about it. I myself got a little caught up with looking at tree houses online trying to get ideas for the exterior. (Anyone interested in painting a mural of cottonwood trees? Anything to provide some camoflauge!)
Anyway - at least he is making progress!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

School Days

The older two have been in school for a week already. But today was Cate's first day of Kindergarten! Here she is excited for the big day:

Three down and one to go!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pray For Dave

My dear friend Liz's oldest brother was in a very serious bicycling accident last Saturday. He is showing signs of improvement but remains in the ICU. Please keep him and their family in your thoughts and prayers.

You can read about the story here:

or here:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sun + Sand + Water = San Diego

Here are some of the highlights of our trip to San Diego:

An evening at the beach:


A day at the beach:

Her first lost tooth:

Balboa Park:
We met up with our Hershey friends Anne, Noa and Zoe. They showed us some circus tricks - with Addie too, showed us some of the gardens and then took us to their beautifully restored 1912 arts and crafts home in the city. And we got to see their chickens.

The San Diego temple:

Jammin' in the car on the way home:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Road Trip Entertainment

We just got back from a trip to San Diego - all sun-kissed and trying to catch up from the whirlwind of a vacation. It was wonderful, though and really made us miss California. A photo log will be posted soon but in the meantime I thought I would share with you my/our media "playlist" - if you will - that kept us entertained for hours on the road, afternoons at the beach and evenings at the condo.

First, my reads:
You can read reviews of all three of these books on Desperate for a Good Read - so I am just going to give brief opinions and star ratings. Cause I've always wanted to give star ratings...

1. The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
A very fun and easy read. I thoroughly enjoyed this and only wished I could hear it read in an English accent. I give this book 4 stars.

2. Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
This book is written for grades 6-10 but it was a fun read anyway. Remembering myself at age 13 - I think I would have fallen in love with this book. So from that perspective I give the book 3 1/2 stars.

3. Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
This book got mixed reviews on Desperate for a Good Read. I still have a couple of chapters left but I am going to give this 3 stars. (Rated a strong PG 13 for language)

Second, audiobooks for the whole family:
1. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
This book received the Newbery Medal in 2000. It was heart-warming and funny. It is definitely more appropriate for older school-age children. Four stars.

2. Ramona Quimby by Beverly Cleary
A classic. Fun for the whole family. Three stars.

Third, the theme song of our trip
1. "One Day" by Matisyahu
We listened to this new song by Matisyahu almost everytime we got the in the car to go somewhere (sometimes twice!). If you haven't heard of Matisyahu, he is a Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn, New York that has a sort of reggae/rap sound. Listen to his voice - he sounds like a Bob Marley type. The cool thing is he writes songs about the Torah and Moses and God. It's pretty wild. He's got a good sound, though and we are all big fans. We were thinking how Matisyahu might think it kind of funny and strange and random that some Mormon family from Utah likes his music. Go figure! Anyway - here is the video on youtube. We love this song! We give it 4 stars.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Dinner with Cousins

Father's Day 2006, Santa Cruz

Last night we had a fun dinner with our cousin friends the M family. Being with them always brings back wonderful memories from our time in California when we clung to them as the only family we had near. Even though their kids are grown and our kids are young, they still love each other and have a great time. We feel grateful to have had their entire family all to ourselves for one evening. It's a rarity!

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures. But the meal was a success so I thought I would share the menu because I tried some new recipes. For someone - unlike me - who grows a garden with vegetables and fresh herbs, there are a few recipes here that you might be interested in.

Menu (recipes below)
- Grilled chicken tenders - marinated in a store bought lime and garlic marinade
- Pear and Apple Salsa - my friend Jessica gets credit for this recipe - I just added the avocado
- Fresh corn on the cob with basil lime butter
- Lime cilantro rice
- Green bean, corn and tomato salad - this was Julie's lovely contribution
- Limeade with fresh mint - the one herb I do have in my garden!
- For dessert - ice creams pies with caramel sauce

Pear and Apple Salsa - great with chicken, turkey or pork
2 medium pears (I only used one) - diced
1 medium apple - diced
1/3 C red onion - diced
1 avocado - diced
1/4 C cilantro - chopped
1/4 C lime juice
2 t honey
pinch of salt

Basil lime butter for corn on the cob
I broke the cobs in half, boiled them, put them on a serving platter and then drizzled the butter on top. I followed the recipe almost exactly except I didn't use a food processor.
See recipe here:

Lime cilantro rice
This makes a ton of rice. Next time I will cut the recipe in half. And there are so many versions of this - some call for cumin or green chilies. I just make it up as I go along.
6 C chicken broth
3 C rice
2-3 cloves garlic - minced
1/4 C fresh cilantro - chopped
1/4 - 1/3 C lime juice
1 small can of diced green chilies (I only use this some of the time)
Bring chicken broth, rice and garlic to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer 20-25 minutes until rice is done. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Green bean, corn and tomato salad
See recipe here:

Limeade with fresh mint
Instead of floating individual leaves in the limeade - I put two entire stems of leaves in the pitcher. It looked kind of cool. This is wonderful with lemonade too.

Ice Cream Pies
This is the easiest dessert! And you can make all sorts of sauces or toppings to make it more interesting and homemade. The crusts can be made from scratch or save yourself some trouble and buy them at the store. Soften the ice cream, spread in pie shell and refreeze. Here are some of the combinations that I really like:
Pralines and cream ice cream with graham cracker or vanilla wafer crust - caramel sauce
Mint chip ice cream with Oreo cookie crust - chocolate sauce
Vanilla ice cream with Oreo cookie crust - fresh raspberry sauce

Father's Day 2006, Santa Cruz

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Looking Back...August 2007

Looking back to August 2007, our local community theater performed Beauty and the Beast that summer. Addie was a spice jar. Curry to be exact. She did a great job and looked darling in her costume.

Cate was thrilled to get her picture taken with 2 Belles!

Also in August of 2007, here is Sarah Jane at 6 months doing a little performing of her own!